Karma to Burn

Appalachian Incantation

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Karma to Burn are a West Virginia-based stoner rock trio whose resolute refusal to hire a full-time vocalist got them dropped from Roadrunner Records back in the 1990s; this is their fourth album, and their debut for the German label Napalm. It doesn't break with the pattern set by their earlier releases at all; their backwoods, muscular riffing remains essentially what it's always been. They're not technicians or shredders, preferring the simple boogie rock power of raw, all-American hard rock. If they did have a singer, they'd probably pick someone who sounds kinda like Jackyl's Jesse James Dupree. Or maybe they'd rope in John Garcia of Kyuss and Hermano, or Daniel Davies of Year Long Disaster. Each of those two men appears on one track each here. Davies' howl livens up the psychedelic dirt-road anthem "Waiting on the Western World," while Garcia's hoarse roar adds a dimension to the ultra-bluesy "Two Times." The other seven tracks are all assigned numbers rather than proper titles, in keeping with Karma to Burn's back catalog. If they're numbered in the order they were written, they're all new pieces ("Forty-One" through "Forty-Six"), except for "Twenty-Four," a strolling track (think Link Wray's "Rumble") that has probably been kicking around for a while, and yet sits comfortably amid the others.

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